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Candied Orange Peel or Any Citrus Peel

Orange Peels Candied

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Candied orange peel (or any citrus peel) is a sweet and sour treat. You can serve it as a dessert or as a treat. It will keep for several months in the refrigerator. No more tossing out those brightly colored peels. Use organic, unsprayed citrus for this recipe—oranges, lemons, tangerines, grapefruits.

Candied Orange Peel or Any Citrus Peel

Yield 4 dozen pieces

This recipe is very simple: you want to completely cover the citrus peel you choose in sugar and water during the cooking process. The ratio of sugar to water is 2:1, that is two parts sugar to one part water. You can start with 4 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water—that would submerge the peel of 4 medium oranges or 8 lemons or tangerines or 2 grapefruits. Remember, if the peel is not submerged during cooking add sugar and water at a ratio of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water until the peel is covered.


  • 4 medium oranges (organic grown or unsprayed fruit) (substitute 8 lemons or 8 tangerines or 2 grapefruits, if you like)
  • 4 cups sugar, plus additional sugar for rolling at the end
  • 2 cups water


  1. Cut the oranges in quarters or halves and remove the fruity flesh. Reserve the fruit for serving at the next meal or for snacks or juice the flesh for drinking or other cooking uses.
  2. Place the halves in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water; cover by an inch or so. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer until the peel is very tender, about 5 to 10 minutes; poke with a fork or skewer to test. Allow the peel to cool until it can be easily handled.
  4. Use a spoon to scrape away as much of the pulp and white pith from the inside of the rind as possible.
  5. Use a knife or scissors to cut the peel into long strips ⅛ to ¼ inch wide.
  6. Put the strips of peel in a heavy saucepan and add 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Cook and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring often until the sugar dissolves in the water to make syrup. The syrup should completely cover or submerge the strips of peel. If not, add sugar and water in 2 to 1 proportions until the peel is covered.
  7. Simmer the syrup slowly; you may need to adjust the heat to keep the syrup at a slow simmer. Cook until the peel becomes translucent and the syrup is thick and bubbling.
  8. Increase the heat slightly and cook the syrup until it threads, about 5 to 10 more minutes—the syrup will form a thread when poured from a spoon. (The syrup will thread at about 230°F—use a candy thermometer if you have one.) (Another test is to pour a bit of syrup into a glass of cold water; it should form a small ball.)
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Scoop the strips of peel from the syrup with a slotted spoon or remove them with tongs. Place the strips evenly on the cooling rack and let them dry for a few hours or overnight.
  11. Toss the strips of candied peel with granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Separate strips that stick together.


Candied peel will keep for months stored in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container.

Use the left-over syrup to poach dried fruit.

If you find these candied peels too hard, add 2 tablespoons of corn syrup to the recipe; it will keep the peel moist even after they dry.

If you find the candy too bitter—if you use grapefruit peels, for example; you can cook out the bitterness by covering in cold water and boiling twice or three times; then trim the peels and cook with sugar and water.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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